The best advice always comes from those who’ve experienced all the wonderful, crazy, fun, and rough times in life. And it goes to say that the best wedding advice must come from people who are already married, right?
Here we’ve compiled wedding advice from real brides who’ve learned a thing or two about getting married, planning the day and—enjoying the day. Take their advice and avoid the “I wish I would have…” Sometimes, the most straightforward and wisest advice is the easiest to overlook.
You spent a lot of time planning your wedding day. So it’s only reasonable that you won’t enjoy it—especially at the moment. But, if you’re not careful to stay present, stress and worry can take precedence over enjoying the fruits of your labour. The most important part of a wedding is celebrating your love and the beginning of your life together. Brides need to remember that when they start to get distracted and stressed.
If they don’t stay present, their wedding day will go by in a flash without the bride experiencing or enjoying it. Need help planning your wedding? Check out our list of Wedding Event Planners here.
With that in mind, here are expert-approved tips to help you stay in the moment.
Table of Contents
- 1 Wake up refreshed.
- 2 Eat a breakfast that is high in protein and complex carbs.
- 3 Break-In Your Shoes Before the Big Day
- 4 Be organized from the get-go.
- 5 Don’t Plan to Do Too Much the Week of Your Wedding.
- 6 Hire the best you can find
- 7 Keep your perspective
- 8 Hire a consultant for the wedding day
- 9 Give yourself plenty of time to get ready.
- 10 No Matter What, You Must Eat
- 11 Take Time to Yourselves After the Ceremony
- 12 Hug Your Parents
- 13 Leave Your Phone in Your Purse, or Give It to Your Maid of Honor
- 14 Hire a Great Team
- 15 Take in every moment!
- 16 Include your guests
- 17 Eat … and ignore opinions!
- 18 Don’t sweat the small stuff.
- 19 The day will fly by.
- 20 Stay calm and steadfast.
- 21 Grooms should make a list of all the things they need to do on the wedding morning.
- 22 Don’t overdo the perfume.
- 23 Hire a wedding coordinator if possible.
- 24 Don’t forget a wedding day survival kit.
- 25 Get loose before you walk down the aisle.
- 26 Stop to take it all in during the ceremony.
- 27 Be magnanimous.
- 28 Give a thank you speech to your spouse.
- 29 Arrange for group photos at the reception.
- 30 Be careful with alcohol.
- 31 Pack flats for the reception.
- 32 Appoint someone to save you from chatty guests.
- 33 Have a moment with each of your parents.
- 34 Don’t do the cake smash.
- 35 Make sure you dance.
- 36 Have a relaxed attitude about the wedding night.
- 37 Remember why you’re there.
Wake up refreshed.
Get to bed at a decent hour the night before so you can be your best. For this reason, it’s wise to plan bachelor and bachelorette parties at least a week ahead of time.
Eat a breakfast that is high in protein and complex carbs.
This food will take a while to break down in your body and keep you going, which is essential since brides and grooms can go long without eating.
Break-In Your Shoes Before the Big Day
If you bought new shoes for the big day, be sure to break them in ahead of time. Otherwise, you’re liable to feel awkward in them and have sore feet.
If you’re used to wearing flats, your wedding could be a real pain—and we mean that literally—making it tough to think about anything other than your aching feet. But beyond breaking in your shoes, making sure you’ll feel comfortable from head to toe at your wedding. It will be impossible to enjoy your first dance if you can’t stop thinking about your strapless bra that’s digging into your chest or the painful blister on the back of your foot.
Be organized from the get-go.
You will be more at ease on the big day if you’ve nailed down the details well before then; as soon as you’ve started planning, set up a filing system to keep your contracts, receipts and notes together. A few weeks before the wedding, give your vendors any special instructions, as well as directions to the ceremony and reception sites. Then check in with them (many pros will call you) a few days before your affair to go over precisely what is expected.
Don’t Plan to Do Too Much the Week of Your Wedding.
There is so much to do in the days leading up to your wedding. But rather than leave them for the last minute, tackle them as early as possible so that the stress of your last-minute DIY projects doesn’t linger on your wedding day. Ensure your programs, escort cards, welcome bags, and DIY projects are done well before the week of your wedding. Setting the tone with a calm, restful week will put you in the right mindset to be stress-free and present on your wedding day.
Hire the best you can find
Spend time early on checking out the most OK wedding pros around. Check their references and view samples of their work. If possible, see your band or DJ at another event and taste the food and cake to be served at your reception. Choose vendors whose work — and personalities — you’re comfortable with. Then, on the day of your wedding, you’ll be more likely to relax, knowing you’re in capable hands.
Keep your perspective
Chances are, there’ll be some snags along the way — the napkins are the wrong colour, your bouquet is smaller than you expected — but nothing should overshadow the joy of the day.
Hire a consultant for the wedding day
In the 1991 movie Father of the Bride, the bride had planner extraordinaire “Franck” on hand to troubleshoot: He dutifully thawed the flowers when Mother Nature delivered a California snowstorm. Having your own “Franck” for the day can be a lifesaver. He or she can run interference with the vendors and solve any crises, often without your knowing anything’s gone amuck. With so many business details wrapped up in an emotional day, it’s nice to have someone to ensure things go smoothly. She’ll keep things on schedule and put out potentially disastrous “fires” while you dance the night away.
Give yourself plenty of time to get ready.
You want to be able to relax and have a good time with your bridesmaids, not stress over whether you’ll finish in time.
No Matter What, You Must Eat
A wedding day is a very long day indeed. And you don’t want your growling stomach to steal the show. Start the day with a good breakfast, and take a short break before putting on your dress to nosh on some protein and light carbs or fruit.
Take Time to Yourselves After the Ceremony
You may be surprised to hear that you’ll have very little alone time with your spouse on your big day. So be sure to take a moment after the ceremony for some quality time. Retreat to the bridal suite or another private area with your partner to bask in the newlywed bliss. Enjoy calling them your spouse for the first time, admire your new wedding bands, and steal a few smooches. And let your planner and caterer know about your plan ahead of time so they can have champagne, water, and a sampling of your hors d’oeuvres ready for you.
Hug Your Parents
Your mom has been by your side from the start of your wedding planning. So, take a special moment with your mom to thank her. After all, no one will keep you grounded like your mom. But don’t leave your dad in the dust, either. Some brides even choose to do a first look with their dads, where the photographer captures the moment that a dad sees his daughter in a wedding dress for the first time.
Leave Your Phone in Your Purse, or Give It to Your Maid of Honor
We all know that phones are a daily distraction, and it will be on your wedding day, too, if you don’t put them away. On your wedding day, you don’t need something else pulling your attention away. Please put it in your clutch, or ask a family member or friend to carry it for emergencies only. You’ve hired a professional photographer, so you don’t need to take photos, and anyone you’d think to call or text will be there in person. If there was ever a time to disconnect, your wedding day is it.
Take a few selfies.
These candid shots make a fun counterpoint to your photographer’s stylized professional photos. But other than that, put your phone away. Nothing is happening that’s more important than your wedding, OK?
Hire a Great Team
If you want to relax on your wedding day, then you must trust the team you’ve put in place to execute it. Bringing on reliable, experienced, and talented vendors will remove so much of the worry about what’s happening behind the scenes. Your wedding planner will be handling all of the details and logistics of the wedding day with your vendors. This will allow you to walk into the ceremony and reception knowing that everything and everyone is in their place and ready to have a good time. Too busy with life to really plan your wedding in detail? Have someone else do it for you and check out our list of Wedding Planners in Melbourne to help take the stress away.
Take in every moment!
On your wedding day, kiss each other, hold each other, and say sweet things to each other. This day is all about the two of you and nobody else. Everyone else is there to enjoy and share in your happiness, but it is all about you at the end of the day. Go on a honeymoon! No matter how expensive your wedding is, go on a honeymoon! Even if it is two towns over in a motel, make sure you get away! Our honeymoon was the best week ever, and we had no worries about anything until we got back. It was the best!
Include your guests
Choose what you want your wedding to feel like, not to look like: having friends and family share quotes during the ceremony, having them all give their blessing before our vows (with a big “We Will!”) and turning our first dance from a slow romantic one to a crazy one with all our favourite people on the dance floor. If you’re having a wonderful time and show it, everyone else is going to follow suit.
Eat … and ignore opinions!
Eat! Many married couples told us to make sure teams eat on their wedding day because they never tasted their dinner! Do not worry about the opinions people would present, and many times, it would be hard to ignore the views of others, but you do it how you want.
Make a five-minute dinner date.
Taking the time to enjoy a full meal is almost impossible with so many guests clamouring for your attention, but a five-minute dinner date — where you grab a few bites and enjoy your new spouse’s company — is more manageable.
If five minutes is too much, get your food to go.
Arrange with the caterers to send a couple of to-go boxes of food with you when you leave the venue. They’ll be glad to do it.
Don’t sweat the small stuff.
Stressing about the little things: Don’t worry about the little things because, in the end, they don’t matter, and people won’t notice. Do what’s right for you! Remember that it’s your day–stay true to what you and your fiancé want. Many people will give you advice on everything; listen and smile but in the end, do what’s right for you (but at the same time, be open to what others say, as you might actually like their ideas/perspective.)
The day will fly by.
Take in every second of the wedding from beginning to end and not let small things bother you (i.e. the curling iron caught on fire, the limo didn’t start, your dress wasn’t clipped right inside…). There were a few more things, but they are things we can laugh at now! Never sweat the small stuff! Eat! Enjoy each second, even if something goes wrong–it’s still the most fantastic day of your life. Take everything and live it. It only happens once!
Stay calm and steadfast.
Focus on staying calm. Let go and let everyone do their job! It will be tempting to constantly check in with everyone to make sure they do what they need to and on schedule. But try just to let go and focus on making sure you are calm and ready. Stay true to who you are! A lot of people are going to tell you what you should and shouldn’t do or have. If you want to do it, do it. If you don’t, don’t. Stay true to who you and your fiancé are, then shape the wedding around that–not what other people have done. Also, choose your shoes for comfort rather than style!
Grooms should make a list of all the things they need to do on the wedding morning.
Bridesmaids are great at helping a bride remember everything. Groomsmen are less helpful in this regard, though they are more likely to bring beer. Speaking of groomsmen, it’s a good idea for the groom to discuss expectations for behaviour.
Guys can get pretty crazy at a reception. If you want a level of decorum, it’s best to spell that out before someone tries to do a body shot off your grandma.
Don’t overdo the perfume.
Heavy perfume can make you feel nauseous and even attract bugs. This goes for you too, grooms. Remember, a little cologne goes a long way.
Hire a wedding coordinator if possible.
Couples often decide to cut this expense, but coordinators let you enjoy your day by keeping drama at bay. If you can’t hire a wedding coordinator, let your bridesmaids handle some of the day-of logistics. They’re falling over themselves to help.
Don’t forget a wedding day survival kit.
A typical one includes:
- A first aid kit.
- A stain remover pen.
- Anything else that might fix a minor emergency.
Get loose before you walk down the aisle.
Do some light stretching to release tension and get your blood flowing so that you don’t — gasp — pass out. Hey, it happens. Check YouTube.
Stop to take it all in during the ceremony.
Ask your officiant to include a “deep breath” moment so you can look over the audience, gaze at your spouse, and burn the memory into your brain.
Greet everyone with a smile, even if it’s your second cousin whom you haven’t spoken to in a couple of years because she said that thing (you know what I’m talking about). No one likes an angry bride, and you won’t like being one either.
Similarly, stay poised during the best man and bridesmaid’s speeches. If something inappropriate is said, it’s best to let it pass without having a big reaction. Many people will have missed it, but they won’t miss you screaming at the best man.
Give a thank you speech to your spouse.
It’ll feel good to thank your parents, grandparents, and guests (especially those who travelled great distances) for making such a momentous occasion in your life possible.
Arrange for group photos at the reception.
Have the DJ call over college friends, co-workers, and teammates for a few quick group photos. Your photographer may suggest doing these before the reception, but save the more formal, time-consuming shots for the wedding party and family only.
Be careful with alcohol.
This is a day you’ll want to remember clearly for the rest of your life, so make sure you don’t drink too much (that’s for doing at your friends’ weddings). One tip is to drink a full glass of water between each alcoholic drink.
Pack flats for the reception.
Sophisticated ballet-style slippers look great with a wedding dress, so bring a pair to put on when you want to cut loose.
Appoint someone to save you from chatty guests.
Inevitably someone, whether it’s your great aunt from Poughkeepsie or the dad of your old college roommate, will talk your ear off, seemingly unaware it’s your wedding day. That’s why having someone to pull you away politely is a must.
Have a moment with each of your parents.
Brides dance with their fathers, and grooms dance with their mothers, but there’s no moment on the schedule for your other parents. Make one.
Don’t do the cake smash.
Brides, you still have people to see and photos to take, so you don’t want to get cake in your hair and on your dress (nor do you want to reapply makeup). Grooms, this is not how you want to start married life. Trust me on this one.
Make sure you dance.
Your favourite tunes are playing, the dance floor is packed with people you love, and you have reason to celebrate! Even grooms who “don’t dance” will regret it if they don’t let their inner Bacon loose with conditions like that.
Have a relaxed attitude about the wedding night.
If fireworks explode, fantastic, but after a long day, many brides and grooms collapse in exhaustion. Don’t worry… there’ll be plenty of time for fireworks later. Check out our ultimate list of Wedding Planners in Melbourne to help you organise a stress-free wedding.
Remember why you’re there.
Amid all of the fun and celebration, be sure to take a moment to look over at the person you’re pledging your life to and reflect on the incredible journey that lies ahead of you both.